Australia swears in new Prime Minister Anthony Albanese while votes are still being counted

·1 min read
Penny Wong, Anthony Albanese, Richard Marles
Penny Wong, Anthony Albanese, Richard Marles Saeed Khan/AFP/Getty Images

Australian voters elected to change governments in national elections on Saturday, replacing the center-right Liberal Party with the center-left Labor Party after nine years, and they got their new government less than 48 hours later. Governor-General David Hurley swore in Labor leader Anthony Albanese as Australia's 31st prime minister on Monday, while votes are still being counted to determine if Albanese's party will have a majority in Parliament or need to cobble together a coalition government.

Hurley also swore in four members of Albanese's Cabinet: Foreign Minister Penny Wong, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles, and economy ministers Katy Gallagher and Jim Chalmers. Wong, born in Malaysia, is the first foreign-born Australian foreign minister; she will travel with Albanese to Tokyo to meet with President Biden, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi — the leaders of the so-called Quad nations. Marles will serve as acting prime minister while Albanese is overseas.

With the votes counted so far, Labor has 72 seats, short of a majority in the 151-seat House of Representatives, while the Liberals and their coalition partners won 58 seats. Six races are too close to call, The Associated Press reports. Both major parties lost voters to the Greens, independents, and other smaller parties. Former Prime Minister Scott Morrison's decision to resign before the vote count was complete allows Albanese to represent Australia at Tuesday's Quad summit, where China's expansion in the Indo-Pacific region is expected to be the main topic.

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